Grand Haven swamped at East Kentwood

Tribune Staff • Oct 7, 2017 at 12:07 AM

In their Friday night matchup with East Kentwood, the Grand Haven football team hoped to play the possession game and slow down an overpowering Falcon offense. The Bucs succeeded in controlling time of possession, but it didn’t bother East Kentwood.

The Falcons rushed to a 43-7 victory, leading 30-0 at halftime and 16-0 after the first quarter.

“That is a very good football team,” Grand Haven head coach Joe Nelson said in an interview with WGHN after the game. “We knew they would be. They have played very well in the last couple weeks. We were hoping they would make some mistakes tonight, but they didn’t.

“Our kids just couldn’t get acclimated to their speed and size.”

Grand Haven received the opening kickoff, putting together a four minute, 30 second, 35-yard drive, eventually resulting in a punt. East Kentwood needed just one snap on their 70-yard drive as Stephan Bracey took their first play from scrimmage to the house. A 2-point conversion gave them an 8-0 lead.

The Bucs once again put together a long drive, highlighted by a 28-yard reception by Malic Love. The drive eventually stalled with a turnover-on-downs at the East Kentwood 39-yard line.

This time, the Falcons took three plays to score, finishing with a 21-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion to take a 16-0 lead.

Through the opening quarter, Grand Haven racked up 10:22 of possession time, while East Kentwood possessed the ball for just 1:38.

The second quarter began with another Grand Haven punt, and another one-play touchdown drive for the Falcons on a 55-yard touchdown run by Bracey. A third 2-point conversion pushed the Falcon lead to a 24-0. Their 2:38 of possession yeilded 194 yards of total offense.

Kentwood slowed their roll through the second quarter, scoring again with four minutes left in the half. This time taking nine plays to score before missing their first extra-point attempt to push the lead to 30-0, at half.

The Falcons scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter. The first on the ground to trigger a running clock, the second in the air to cap their scoring at 43 points as the third quarter expired.

Determined to get on the board, Grand Haven played the fourth quarter with renewed vigor. They took the ball at their own 15-yard line and went to work.

Love broke off a 16-yard run to get things started. Carson Stenberg would grab their next first down with a four-yard run, before they stalled near midfield at fourth-and-four. With nothing left to lose, quarterback Adam Nelson took a bootleg around the edge to keep the drive alive.

Nelson then trusted his arm, and his receivers, to pull into the redzone, chucking a pass to Tristan Winkleman inside the East Kentwood 10-yard line. The pass would ricochet off its intended receiver and bobble through two Falcon defenders’ hands before finding Chris Lacour, who hauled in the reception.

Following the slick catch, senior back Hunter Spangler punched in a 6-yard touchdown run to put the Bucs on the board, bringing the game to it’s final tally.

“I’m so proud of that kid,” Nelson said of Spangler. “He was our scout team player of the week. He works so hard to make our team better and doesn’t get out on the field much. For him to get that touchdown is awesome. Everyone on and off the field has a role they have to play and he does his so selflessly. I’m very excited for him.

“I did appreciate at the end, these kids had some pride to fight for, and they put together a really nice drive.”

Quarterback Adam Nelson would finish 3-for-8 passing for 89 yards. Malic Love led the backfield with 28 yards rushing on 13 attempts, followed by Carson Stenberg with 22 yards, Charlie Young with 15, Hunter Spangler with six to go with his touchdown and Nathan Perez with two.

Chris LaCour led in receiving with one reception for 31 yards, followed by Winkleman with 30 yards on one catch and Love with 28 yards on one catch.

Ryan Klahorst led the defense with seven tackles, while P.J. Moffett followed with five.

The Bucs return to the field against Hudsonville next week, with two chances left to get a win this season.

“We have to finish, finish, finish,” Nelson said. “Hudsonville has been struggling this year and has a few injury bugs. We have to have a great game. We want to get a win for the seniors, I think we can.”

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